Photo Credit: Jeffrey Gleaves
Located on Nostrand Avenue, Desserts by Michael Allen displays the outdoor flavor of a French café. Situated in the heart of Lefferts Garden in Brooklyn, the smoke-glassed entrance welcomes those hunkering for something different. Sitting at the Bistro’s metal tables, you experience ambience not generally associated with this section of Brooklyn.
For Michael Allen, Culinary Art runs through his blood. The son of a chef, Michael held an apprenticeship at age 13 under his dad – but his first love was music. He was an All States tuba player through high school and college. Michael also played the trumpet. His path was derailed when he had an accident, and his bridge was crushed. He was then forced to stop playing. Like many youth, Michael rebelled against entering into the family business and wished to make his own mark. But one day, Michael said, “I realized this was second nature to me, and it’s something that should be a legacy.” After embracing this realization, Michael plunged into his profession with gusto.
Herb Wickenson, the owner of a chain of hamburger joints, had a Japanese partner in an upscale East-Side restaurant. Mr. Wickerson took Michael under his wings and hired him as their pastry chef.
Michael said, “I was young, silly and talented. I thank him to this day because he gave me my first start. I frequent his restaurants all the time.”
During this period, Michael cooked for numerous celebrities. The first cake he baked was for legendary football star Joe Namath. Many others followed, like famed Hollywood star, Myrna Loy, Lauren Bacall, Dustin Hoffman’s wife, and the after theatre party for Dream Girls, and La Cage Aux Folles, to name just a few. One of his fondest memories is of making cookies and cream for the New York Post gossip columnist, Liz Smith and personally delivering them to her apartment. She would often mention his name in her column.
He recently baked a cake for the 40th birthday party of Mona Scott, producer of Love & Hip Hop. Michael said, “One of the nicest families I’ve ever met was LL Cool J’s. I met his mother and son. They deserve every accolade they receive. They’re a beautiful family.”
Moving up in time, in September 2015, Michael opened Desserts by Michael Allen on Nostrand Avenue. The name was inspired by a Nigerian colleague he worked with at the Waters Edge restaurant named Bamba. He prophesied that “You are going to open a restaurant and name it Desserts by Michael Allen. That’s exactly what Michael did. He brought years of culinary skills and combined gluten free and vegan dishes into the menu. “Gluten-free and vegan dishes is a movement that’s growing day by day. We are now making a stronger presence for gluten-free products,” Michael said.
However, classic desserts still abound. For instance, candle’ from Bordeaux, France, originally developed by Catholic nuns, is a standard at Michaels. He also offers a variety of cheeses, some well known like Brie, and others that were not so well known. The selection of great salads and sandwiches make a fine prelude to Michael’s desserts. Customers rave about the food. Here’s what Jeannine had to say, “Amazing burgers and desserts. Fast delivery every time. I love the turkey chili!
Ely chimed in with, “My new favorite restaurant. Sandwiches were so good. They were what we would expect to pay more for. I recommend the Croque Madame Sandwich. Really glad they’re in the neighborhood.“ Custom made cakes for every occasion imaginable are available. Future plans call for offering wine and beer to compliment the food, cheeses and desserts.
Every third Thursday of each month, Desserts by Michael Allen offer jazz sessions. Michael’s wife, Marvel, is a songstress who worked with Regina Bell for over ten years. She might well be the night’s entertainment. If not Marvel, there’s sure to be some other fantastic jazz group.
Michael wants his followers to know that “this is the place for great food, desserts, and entertainment.”
Desserts by Michael Allen is located at 1149 Nostrand Avenue between Rutland Road and Midwood Street. For more information go to michaelallendesserts.com or call (347) 652-1460.